Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the LORD are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble in them."
I nearly named this, "Perplexing Verse of the Day," but I'm afraid that would lump me in the category of those who aren't wise or discerning, and who don't understand this verse! The two words that are shocking in this verse, are the final two: "in them." The rest of it is fairly familiar. God's ways, His paths, His calling to righteous living and trusting in Him every treacherous step through life -- all of that is right. It's good. It's hard, but it's good. And Hosea tells us that God's people, His children, walk in those difficult paths safely. These paths lead us through valleys of death and fiery furnaces, into shipwreck and out of places where we have to shake the dust off our feet. But we are always safe.
But the unrighteous? Those who do not love God? What if they try to walk in His ways? "Transgressors will stumble in them." We usually think the unsaved stumble and fall because they're not walking in God's ways. (And of course, they do. Everyone stumbles outside of God's kingdom.) But in His paths? Yes! His paths are hard! They can only be successfully traversed with His help. Have you known people who you thought were Christians, attended church all their lives, seemed like good people, and all that. Then big trials rocked their lives, and they fell apart, lost their way, turned to sin and away from God? Those people attempted to walk in God's rocky ways. Those ways are not intended to be walked without Him. They stumbled.
Don't even try to follow God into the storms of life, without His help. His ways are safe, if you hold His hand. Otherwise, they are the most treacherous life paths out there. You'd be better living a life of debauchery on your own, than saying you're on God's path, without being His child.
A few days ago I took this picture out the window. See the line of dark grey, sitting above the hills? The light below it was so bright at one point, and the mountain tops there looked white with snow. Perhaps it was only light.
This is the sky this morning: